Pasadena, Calif. - Despite having one of Comedy Central's most popular programs with the Internet-mocking clip show "Tosh.0," Daniel Tosh can't pinpoint his appeal.
"I really don't know," he said recently in a rare brush with reporters. "It's ridiculous. I wish I knew."
Certainly "Tosh.0" (returning with new episodes beginning 10 p.m. Tuesday) isn't radically different. "The Soup" and "Fashion Police," both on E!, also look at popular culture, tongue firmly in cheek. But all three shows have one thing in common - quick-witted hosts with rapid-fire delivery.
"The Soup" has Joel McHale and "Fashion Police" features Joan Rivers. Tosh was a relatively unknown comic until "Tosh.0" premiered in 2010.
Now the son of a Florida-based minister is hot as a comedy touring act, mainly from his college-age following.
"Tosh.0" grabs the latest viral videos and subjects them to Tosh's tart tongue. The genius of each installment has Tosh and his writers looking over clips found by the show's researchers.
Instead of merely making fun of the clips, Tosh also has as guests the people appearing in them.
If the clip is particularly embarrassing for the guest, Tosh will offer them a shot at "redemption" by letting them re-create the clip.
"We're certainly not holding back. We kind of say what we want to say," Tosh told reporters recently. "We wanted to push it. We realize that ... the format had been tried a couple dozen times and failed before. And I think that was just our idea: push it as far as you can and see what happens."
Kent Alterman, the head of original programming and production for Comedy Central, said Tosh's take is a major reason why the show connects.
"A lot of people misunderstand this show and why it catches on with people," Alterman said, "and they think it's all about the videos and what's on the Internet. But you could take this same exact source material and have 10 different people use it, and it would be 10 different shows, and this one would be up here where it is."
Other highlights for the week of May 15-21 (check local listings):
"Survivor: Redemption Island" (7 p.m., CBS). Eight finalists are left as the edition's winner is named. A live reunion of the cast is set for 9 p.m.
"Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m., ABC). It's the season finale, and you know what that means: Another character is about to be killed off.
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" (6 p.m., Bravo). Season three launches with Teresa, Caroline and Jacqueline welcoming a new housewife into their fold.
"American Experience" (9 p.m., PBS). The Freedom Riders bus journey, a hallmark moment in the civil-rights movement, is chronicled in this special, including how it influenced America today.
"Castle" (9 p.m., ABC). In the season finale, Beckett comes closer to learning all the secrets behind her mother's murder.
"NCIS" (7 p.m., CBS). The season finale brings dire consequences to the port-to-port-killer story.
"American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox). The final three perform.
"Grey's Anatomy" (8 p.m., ABC). Meredith's deceit comes to light and causes major fallout for many in the season finale.
"The Mentalist" (8 p.m., CBS). The season finale reveals Red John's mole who has compromised Patrick Jane's team.
"Sinbad and the Minotaur" (9 p.m., SyFy). Sinbad has a damsel in distress to save, a monster to fight and a treasure to find in this movie.